Andre Norton Jessica Kemball-Cook - Essay

Jessica Kemball-Cook

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Ziantha, a highly-trained telepath, makes a 'foray' or mind-search into the times of the Forerunners, an ancient race which predates her own era. While spying for the Thieves' Guild, an interplanetary organisation, she comes across a mysterious stone which magnifies her mental powers and drags her into the personalities of two Forerunner females, each facing a great crisis in their own time….

With its casual references to terms like 'sight distort', 'nightsight', 'psychic energy', 'chewing gratz' and 'veeps', [Forerunner Foray] certainly assumes an acquaintance with SF conventions, and takes for granted that we understand what Ziantha is about with her mind-searching…. The story has a more general application, however, as it deals with the right of the individual to determine his own future and go his own way apart from those who have trained him….

With its carefully constructed plot and choice of suitable language this book stands above much by inferior writers; yet the pace is slow and sometimes wearying, so that I would only recommend it to Norton fans and SF addicts, who would best appreciate its quality of elegance blended with intellectual argument. (p. 66)

Jessica Kemball-Cook, in Children's Book Review (© 1974 Five Owls Press Ltd.; all rights reserved), Summer, 1974.